Top corporates polled by The Climate Group finds overwhelming support for green recovery measures from governments
The disruption, uncertainty, and challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis have had little impact on the long-term sustainability strategies of most of the world's top corporates, according to the findings of a new survey carried out by non-profit The Climate Group.
In a poll of around 100 of the world's leading sustainability professionals, 97 per cent said their long-term sustainability strategy remains unchanged despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crash it has triggered.
Moreover, 80 per cent of respondents said their company had been able to maintain their current sustainability efforts throughout the crisis, which has led to lockdowns and economic rescue packages being enacted that have caused huge disruption to all industries.
The global non-profit surveyed leading figures from members of its global corporate sustainability initiatives RE100, EV100, and EP100, which together encompass more than 350 companies pushing for a rapid shift towards sourcing 100 per cent renewable electricity, switching to electric vehicle fleets, and doubling energy productivity, respectively.
It found that leading businesses were not only continuing to advance efforts to tackle climate change, they are also stepping up calls for governments to provide more ambitious climate policy regimes.
In keeping with recent widespread calls from investors, politicians, civil society and business groups, when asked about governments' role in rebuilding after the worst of the pandemic in recent months, the poll revealed overwhelming support for green recovery measures.
Just under two-thirds - 63 per cent - said governments' economic stimulus packages should prioritise investment in measures that accelerate the decarbonisation of the economy, and a similar proportion - 59 per cent - favoured 'green strings' being attached to state bailouts that would required supported firms to take steps to cut emissions and create green jobs.
In addition, half of respondents said taxpayer money should not be used to bail out fossil fuel companies, and just three per cent were against economic stimulus packages prioritising climate action, according to The Climate Group.
Most encouragingly, 96 per cent of respondents felt that climate action is just as, if not more, important to their business now compared to before the pandemic struck, and 52 per cent said they expected business leaders to be more ambitious in addressing big societal issues such as climate change in the wake of the pandemic.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, said the survey showed business commitment to tackling climate change was "now incredibly robust".
"Companies also see it as their responsibility to build a greener, fairer future," she added. "Governments should feel confident that implementing strong climate policy and green recovery measures will be welcomed and commended by the private sector. By working together, businesses and policymakers can help to ensure economies recover from the Covid-19 crisis while also halving emissions by 2030."
However, the survey results also showed that a significant proportion of top sustainability executives harbour some concerns that the economic fallout from the crisis could create headwinds for corporate climate programmes.
Only 43 per cent said they expected governments to become more interventionist in order to help sustain corporate action on climate change, while more than half - 55 per cent - voiced concerns that climate action could be at risk of falling down the business priority list in the wake of Covid-19.
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